Hamilton farmer disqualified from owning horses after letting animal 'starve to death'

MPI said the horse would have suffered "significant distress".
MPI said the horse would have suffered "significant distress". Photo credit: File / Getty Images

A Hamilton woman has been disqualified from owning horses for a year after she let a horse of hers starve to death.

Alicia Victoria Keppel, 53, was also sentenced to 100 hours' community work for the incident and ordered to pay vet fees of $498 in relation to the incident.

Keppel was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on one animal welfare charge after the case was brought to court by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Brendon Mikkelsen, MPI animal welfare and national animal identification and tracing compliance regional manager, said inspectors visited Keppel's north Waikato property in February 2020 after a member of the public complained about an emaciated horse.

When inspectors arrived they found the horse, an elderly Chestnut Gelding, had died overnight.

"The horse was Ms Keppel's responsibility and she failed to provide proper care and sufficient food for it," Mikkelsen said on Monday.

"For a long period of time she didn’t check on the horse."

He said it was "serious offending".

"Ms Keppel's horse would have suffered significant distress. It was extremely emaciated, and starved to death."

Mikkelsen said anyone who is aware of animal ill-treatment or cruelty should report it to MPI's animal welfare complaints line on 0800 00 83 33.